Our Creator gave us incredibly complex and beautiful bodies! The human body is more than bones and muscles. Actually there are 9 different systems all of which are under the direction of the Central Nervous System which collects and processes information from the senses via nerves and the brain and tells the muscles to contract to cause physical actions.
The brain incorporates 100 billion neurons. Out of these 16 billion are located in the cerebral cortex, 69 billion (or 80% of all brain neurons) are in the cerebellum, and fewer than 1% of all brain neurons are located in the rest of the brain.
Does that just blow you away the way it does me?
Addiction which means “enslaved” exerts a long and powerful influence on the brain that manifests in three distinct ways: craving for Sickerettes, loss of control over smoking, and continuing to smoke despite adverse consequences.
Nobody starts out intending to develop an addiction, but many people get caught in its snare. Addiction is a chronic disorder that changes both brain structure and function, i.e., addiction hijacks the Brain!
Nicotine provides a shortcut to the brain’s reward system by flooding the nucleus accumbens with dopamine. The hippocampus lays down memories of this rapid sense of satisfaction, and the amygdala creates a conditioned response to addictive stimuli. Dopamine not only contributes to the experience of pleasure, but also plays a role in learning and memory—two key elements in the transition from liking something to becoming addicted to it.
People who develop an addiction typically find that, in time, smoking no longer gives them as much pleasure. They have to smoke more to obtain the same dopamine “high” because their brains have adapted—an effect known as tolerance. At this point, compulsion takes over. The pleasure associated with smoking subsides—and yet the memory of the desired effect and the need to recreate it (the wanting) persists. It’s as though the normal machinery of motivation is no longer functioning. Conditioned learning helps explain why people who develop an addiction risk relapse even after years of abstinence.
It is not enough to “just say no”—as the 1980s slogan suggested. Instead, you can protect (and heal) yourself from addiction by saying “yes” to other things. Cultivate diverse interests that provide meaning to your life.
We used to think that the brain, once damaged, could not repair itself. Breakthroughs in neuroscience have shown that this is not true. Though individual neurons might be damaged beyond repair, the brain attempts to heal itself when damaged by making new connections or new neural pathways as work-arounds for the damage. This is called neuroplasticity.
We can retrain the brain, that is develop a new pathway that supports recovery. We can do it by strengthening the new “recovery” loop within the brain. The brain then learns to enjoy recovery, those things that give us pleasure in our smober lives – family, work, interpersonal interactions. We retrain the brain and thus change our lives. If you don’t feel that way now, fake it ‘til you make it! Things will turn around within a few Months!
BUT, the old neuropathways, the old links between addiction and pleasure are still there! Recovery doesn’t remove the addictive thought process; it just gives us an opportunity to use the recovery thought processes but the choice is always ours! We must continue to strengthen those new brain pathways and confront our addictive pleasure and reward tendencies. Whereas before we thought we solved problems with a Sickerette all we did was feed our addiction rather than solve anything! Problems usually are transient, and life is not always supposed to be pleasurable. We can learn to deal with Life on Life’s terms and Re-claim our magnificent, fabulous, incredible, God created SELVES!